Not long after I came out, I was invited to a gay friend’s house to watch a movie that he said would have me laughing so hard that I’d pee my pants. How could I resist an invitation like that? The movie was Without You I’m Nothing, based on out comedian Sandra Bernhard’s much acclaimed one-woman-show of the same name.
I didn’t get it.
Bernhard ranted and raved and did odd non-impressions of celebrities and fake interviews with people I didn’t recognize, being a shiny new lesbian and all.
The tape ended with Bernhard draped in an American flag wearing nothing but a patriotic g-string and pasties, dancing to Prince’s Little Red Corvette. Not only were my pants dry, but I also felt totally stupid surrounded by gay men doubled over in laughter tears.
All these years later, Bernhard still confounds me much of the time. She often seems to be one step over the line between funny and not. Other times I think she’s brilliant and hilarious — and I revel in her outrageousness.
So, I’m hoping for a video of the 20-year revival of Without You I’m Nothing, which she will perform in New York City on June 10, to see how I respond to her act now.
Bernhard spoke to WWD about the show, which contains quite a bit of new material.
What’s not in the moment for Bernhard, who turns 54 Saturday, is much interest in contemporary women performers, even though she understands where they’re coming from.
What about comedians who do potty humor, like Sarah Silverman?
Bernhard’s own level of commitment has changed in recent years. Shortly after she had Cicely, she met her partner Sara Switzer. The two have been together for nine years.
A happy family life certainly hasn’t blunted Bernhard’s edge. But she is quite happy to give up one source of comedic outrage: the administration.
Are you a Sandra Bernhard fan? What do you think of her brand of comedy?